Legitimately Good News From Iraq
Naturally, it’s beneath stuff about 11 people dying in a Mosul suicide bombing, but still: Egypt is due to reopen its embassy in Baghdad, closed since insurgents murdered Egypt’s ambassador in 2005.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
Aboul Gheit’s visit followed those by leaders of Jordan and Lebanon and was an indication that leading Sunni Muslim countries may begin restoring relations with Iraq’s Shiite Muslim-led government. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other nations have been concerned about Iraq’s ties with the Shiite-run government in Iran, which Sunni nations blame for attempting to unsettle the region through its nuclear program and support to militant groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“Iraq has passed through a difficult period, and today we hope that we see Iraq outside this situation,” Aboul Gheit said. “Egypt has a confirmed desire to build a strong and active Iraqi-Egyptian relationship.”
Why’s this a big deal?
Because any extrication strategy for the United States will need a robust diplomatic component. Right now, the political compact in Iraq between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds is anything but stable or settled, and it shows all signs of remaining that way for the foreseeable future.
Getting the U.S. out will require the region’s heavy hitters — in other words, the Sunni powerbrokers and Iran — to act as guarantors of political stability in the wake of a U.S. withdrawal, to cash the checks that the sectarian interests write at the bargaining table. Having the Egyptians already in Baghdad will help lay the groundwork.
Getting out just got slightly easier.